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Omo Kuraz Sugar Factories Project Kicks Off

Gov’t earmarks $225m for each of six sugar factories planned to be constructed in South Omo Zone

 

The first phase of Omo Kuraz Sugar Factories Project kicked off in South Omo Zone, Southern Regional State, earlier this month with the preparation of the land earmarked for the sites of the future factories and plantations.

The project comprises the construction of six sugar factories, sugar cane plantations, housing units, and roads. It forms part of the 10 sugar factories planned to be constructed nationwide by the end of the five-year GTP period.

At present, there are only three sugar factories in the country. They are Metahara Sugar Factory, Finchaa Sugar Factory, and Wenchi Sugar Factory.

Out of the 10 factories, three are expected to start crushing sugar cane by 2013/14, according to Dereje Gutema, deputy director general of factory projects and preparation at Sugar Corp. another five factories are to become operational by 2014/15, while the remaining two are expected to become operational by 2015/16, Dereje claimed.

Sugar Corp, the regulator of the sugar sector, was established as the Ethiopian Sugar Development Agency in 2006, before being renamed earlier his fiscal year. It aims to make public sugar enterprises efficient and implement the government’s sugar development policies.

The Omo Kuraz Sugar Factories Project forms part of the government’s five-year GTP plans to increase sugar production from 314,000tn in 2009/10, to 2.3 million tonnes by the end of 2014/15. Out of this, 1.2 million tonnes are to be exported to earn the country an estimated 661.7 million dollars, according to the GTP.

South Omo Zone has already prepared the 150,000ht that has been allotted for the project and transferred it to the federal government, according to Molloka Wubneh, chief administrator of the zone. Out of the total, 200ht has been allocated for a plant where sugar cane will be multiplied; 80ht of this has been cleared for construction, of the nursery Molloka claimed.

The study and design of Omo Kuraz Sugar Factories Project was done at a cost of 118.3 million Br by the state owned Ethiopian Waterworks Design & Supervision Enterprise (EWDSE) in collaboration with the Southern Ethiopia Design & Supervision Enterprise (SEDSE), which will have a 40pc share in the project.

The government has earmarked 225 million dollars for each of the six sugar factories that will be constructed by the Metal and Engineering Corp (MetEC).

MetEC comprises nine industries that formerly served the Ministry of Defence (MoD). They were joined under the umbrella of the corporation in 2010 and engage in construction work for the public and private sectors.

To date, the government has advanced 120 million Br for the initial stage, Molloka told Fortune.

MetEC is to also install the machinery in the factories, while the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development (MoCUD) will be responsible for the construction of housing units for the employees of the sugar plantations and factories.

The six sugar factories and plantations in the zone are expected to create more than 150,000 fulltime and part-time jobs in the zone. With a total area of 23,000sqm, South Omo Zone covers a quarter of the Southern Regional State and has a population of 630,000.

The population, comprising mostly pastoralists, were included in discussions on the project from the zonal level to kebeles and villages, and would benefit from the project, Molloka claimed.

Dereje affirmed that the pastoralists of the Omo River Valley would be beneficiaries of the project.

“The project would create huge employment opportunities for the local community,” he told Fortune. “It also comprises community development components that include separate irrigation land for the community living in the area to enable them to earn a living from their own irrigation agriculture.”

In addition to building a village for employees, around 750km of internal roads (in total) are to be constructed, according to Molloka.

As part of the project, a 132km road between Jinka and an irrigation reservoir are under construction.

Another sugar factory is being planned in the zone, according to sources in the zonal administration. This would bring the total number of sugar factories in the country to 14 upon its becoming fully operational,. Sugar Corp confirmed that it is revising its original five-year plan.

By WORKINEH ZEWDIE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

 

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